2017 APWA Sacramento Chapter Project of the Year Award
Safe Routes to School Engineering Project Improves Pedestrian Safety along Creek
The City of Citrus Heights collaborated with San Juan Unified School District schools and community groups including WALKSacramento and Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates to develop the Antelope Road Safe Routes to School Project along Cripple Creek.
In keeping with its commitment to safe routes to school, City staff determined the project location was a top priority based on the following:
- Leveraging the public education and safety training of the previous accessibility and safety project
- A commitment to provide a continuous sidewalk along both sides of Antelope Road from Interstate 80 to Auburn Boulevard
- Continuation of the Complete Streets progress on Antelope Road
- Number of schools directly benefitting (one high school and two elementary schools)
- Level of risk for students traveling on high-speed and high-volume Antelope Road
- Limited pedestrian and bicycle facilities
- Increased number of reported near-misses on this section of roadway
- Project area has the least amount of bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure for the populations served
This segment of Antelope Road (approximately one mile in length) is a major arterial carrying over 29,000 vehicles per day and provides freeway access. Average speeds exceed 45 mph and peak hour traffic coincides with morning school commutes.
Cripple Creek and native oak woodland run within a few feet of the roadway, which created a significant physical and environmental constraint. Furthermore, a lack of bike lanes, narrow shoulders, and proximity to traffic forced pedestrians and cyclists close to or into travel lanes, ditches, and unpaved areas.
As a result, crash data showed eight bike and six pedestrian injury crashes. The Antelope Road/Auburn Boulevard intersection (eastern project limits) was ranked the second worst intersection in the City.
This project eliminated the need for students to walk in ditches along the road by installing widening to accommodate a bike lane and sidewalk along the adjacent creek. Drainage improvements also lessened exposure to mud and slippery conditions. A vertical curb provided additional protection for pedestrians. Accessible ramps allow for strollers and wheelchairs to stay on the sidewalk. Striped bike lanes provide additional safety and delineation for bicyclists. Increased enforcement and education also encourage safe driving and walking behaviors.
Design and Innovation
The project included 2,295 linear feet of gap closures, including sidewalk, curb and gutter, curb ramps, and updated bicycle lanes. The consulting design team coordinated with the City, police, fire, park district, utility companies, property owners, and other stakeholders during design.
When the original concept, of a retaining wall on a pile foundation along the creek, proved too expensive, the design team value-engineered a split-level sidewalk and bike lane design to reduce the foundation depth. The design reduced construction cost by $300,000. It also succeeded in providing easier access to an 8-inch, high-pressure gas line and water main that run under the project area. The pipelines were so sensitive that PG&E maintained onsite inspectors throughout construction.
Potholing during construction discovered the gas line varied in depth and meandered throughout the project area. This discovery resulted in a modification to the streetlight footing designs and required close coordination with PG&E personnel.
In addition, a large, mature hedge was removed, and a sound wall was designed to mitigate the visibility and security concerns of one homeowner.
Creek and Oak Environmental Concerns
Every effort was made from initial design through final construction to minimize impacts within the creek, preserve existing oak trees, and protect habitat. The team worked closely with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to obtain permits. The environmental team surveyed for nesting raptors and trained the contractor’s staff to ensure environmental compliance during construction.
Because of significant impacts to a few properties, the design team worked closely with property owners on the design of a sound wall and driveway conforms. In addition, the City issued press releases ahead of construction and specified that the contractor use changeable message signs to update the traveling public during construction.
The City, consultant team, construction manager, and contractor worked in an unusually cooperative collaboration to address issues (complicated mitigation, coordination with utility purveyors, and processing necessary paperwork). A part-time, consulting construction manager, supplemented by the City’s construction inspector, provided inspection and general direction to the contractor.